Middlesbrough are set to assess the condition of the influential Paddy McNair following his absence from Northern Ireland’s squad for their final 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Italy, according to Middlesbrough’s official website.
Chris Wilder would have been hoping for all of his international players to return to the Riverside Stadium free from any injury setbacks as he prepares for his first match in charge of Middlesbrough against Millwall.
However, Andraz Sporar has already provided one major headache on the injury front with him being assessed ahead of Boro’s meeting with Millwall this weekend. That comes after he was forced to miss out on Slovenia’s World Cup qualifier against Cyprus after pulling up in the warm-up.
It has been reported by Teesside Live that Wilder is now planning to conduct an investigation into Boro’s recurring injury issues within their squad. While the hope is that his methods on the training ground will serve to prevent these injury concerns from being as prominent in the squad as they have been this term.
The latest update from Middlesbrough’s official website has confirmed that McNair is to be assessed by Boro ahead of the clash with Millwall this weekend. That comes after he missed Northern Ireland’s goalless draw with Italy due to suffering a slight knock during his nation’s 1-0 win over Lithuania last week.
McNair is a player that is likely going to prove to be invaluable to Wilder given his versatility of being able to play in both the heart of midfield and at centre-back. Therefore, to have him potentially unavailable for his first game in charge will be a major blow for him as he looks to get off to a winning start against Millwall.
It does not sound as though McNair’s injury setback will be a majorly serious one, but it does show a continuing pattern of injury knocks that have been affecting Boro’s squad throughout the season so far.
Wilder seems to be very keen to address that issue and he will know how much injuries can impact teams after what happened to his Sheffield United side last term.
The hope will be that McNair can prove to be fit enough to still feature for Middlesbrough at the weekend against Millwall and at least Northern Ireland took the view not to risk him in their game against Italy.